Dominik Griese is a metaverse expert and already advises and supports well-known companies in their first steps towards the metaverse. In an interview, he told us what the metaverse actually is and what brands should bear in mind if they want to enter the metaverse.
JOM: How would you explain the Metaverse in simple terms?
Dominik Griese: The metaverse is basically the new shape of the Internet: speak to where the Internet is going. The Internet is becoming more and more three-dimensional and experiential. This means that in the future we will not only be able to see the Internet on a screen, but will also be able to “feel” it and have it completely around us.
What is special now is that we are creating our own universes in which quite a few of these metaverses coexist. This is important to say when we talk about the metaverse, that there is not just one world, but quite a few that coexist.
But I can take the things I’ve collected, bought, or experienced in one world to the next world with the help of a virtual backpack.
JOM: How many users are already on the metaverse?
Dominik Griese: That’s a good question. In the entire metaverse universes, there were 440 million active users in March of this year alone.
But here we have to zoom in more to find out which of these metaverses people are in. For example, we have the universes “Interior,” “Solara,” or semi-metaverses. The semi-metaverses also include the so-called semi-metaverses such as “Fortnite”, “Minecraft” or “Roblox” – where most users are currently active.
Roblox” has 210 million active users in March 2022, Fortnite 80 million and Minecraft 160 million. This shows that semi-metaversen already makes up a large part of the total user base of 440 million.
But it’s important to say that in all metaverses, the number of users increased by 10 percent from February to March, from 400 million to 440 million active user:in.
JOM: Where do you see the biggest hurdle for establishing the Metaverse in our society? And where the biggest advantages?
Dominik Griese: When it comes to establishing the metaverse in society, it’s first about the added value and the benefits for that society. The benefit is definitely even more for companies and traders who want to earn money – in other words, everything that falls into the economic and financial sector.
If we now take a look at “Fortnite” or “Minecraft”, which are increasingly jumping on the metaverse bandwagon and want to make their applications completely compatible with the other metaverses, then we definitely have a larger share that makes sense for the normal consumer.
The gaming world is something creative, something to experience, you create something in the metaverse and you can let off steam. Schools or universities can use the metaverse, as can architects. It’s important to look at the different worlds and see which of these worlds really adds value to society.
We can look at a world where I can buy a spaceship for $100,000 and then it gets shot up. Then my $100,000 is gone without me ever being able to make a social impact with it. On the other hand, it’s also about projects and applications that can be used over time and offer added value in, for example, working life. Creating mind maps or objects in three-dimensional space, which we are otherwise only familiar with via the two-dimensional screen, holds new potential and is also fun.
There are also already projects that show what social impact can look like in the metaverse. Be it a demonstration with 3,000 participants campaigning for peace in Ukraine.
Cent Box has just launched a new NFT project: a work of art for sale. The proceeds are donated to a non-profit organization.
The clear advantage here is the transparency of the money flow. With monetary donations made on the street, for example, I can’t track whether the money actually arrives. It’s different with transactions that take place on the so-called log chain. Even if there are two interfaces in between, I can still see if the interface transfers my money to the right address in the end. That’s a new kind of transparency.
But probably the most crucial added value is the alienation of the big monopoly powers that want to force us into fixed structures on the Internet. We don’t choose what our Internet pages should look like; in the end, it’s guidelines that major search engines give us.
The best example is Google: The search giant clearly states that left-aligned text is better for display. So those who comply with the specified formatting are given preference and those who pay are displayed at the top.
Guidelines of this kind are increasingly lost in the metaverses. Similar to TikTok, I let myself drift and be surprised by who or what content is most likely to appeal to me. So it’s a new opportunity to be seen even for smaller ones. That’s something that’s becoming increasingly difficult on major search engines.
JOM: What do you recommend to brands that want to take their first steps towards Metaverse?
Dominik Griese: When I talk to companies, it’s first important for me to make them understand what this additional effort, which a presence in the metaverse inevitably entails, means. After all, it’s not enough to simply offer the existing products that are already for sale in the online store as virtual products in three-dimensional space.
Rather, a certain sequence must be followed. The first thing I always recommend is to “register” or stay in one of the 120 different metaverses and in this way enter into an exchange with the community. Because here, too, it’s no different than in the real world: brands need to know the needs and wants of their target group in order to create an offer for them or adapt the existing offer.
Companies should always ask themselves: Do I need to offer my effervescent tablet again as a three-dimensional product, for example? But if certain benefits are now linked to this effervescent tablet, such as free shipping in the online store or customers also receive an effervescent tablet in real life for every virtual effervescent tablet – the virtual product offers added value.
JOM: What are the advantages for companies that are already taking place in the metaverse?
Dominik Griese: First, let’s say that not every brand that is already “taking place” in the Metaverse has certain advantages. It is still a limited target group that can be found there online and it is also important to emphasize that it will remain a limited target group for a while.
I expect the big hype to come next summer. A view like on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok is advisable here. Here, too, there are companies that first became aware of it and that are now trying out this still manageable number of users and ultimately find themselves faster than those who only get in a year later. Especially where the reach is still a bit more limited, it is also easier to make the first mistakes.
So now there is still the chance to be an early adopter and try out – maybe even sell the first products or buy the first products yourself.
Brands like Nike or Adidas show what happens when you understand early how the concept works. Nike put out crypto sneakers this year that sold for €250,000. Regardless of the fact that the shoes are worth a lot, Nike probably makes 5 to 10 percent from each resale of these shoes. In doing so, they create a very different kind of community management: the people who interact with the company virtually, whether through an investment or by wearing a virtual item, have a very different connection to the brand than perhaps a:e buyer:in who makes an affect purchase in the online store or becomes aware of the company through an ad.
In other words, it’s probably best to position yourself as a company in the metaverse now and learn how to do it even better in the future.